On 5 May, the Dutch frigate HNLMS Tromp, at about 10 miles off the Somali coast, arrested a whaler carrying 4 men, possibly pirates. Following the destruction of their boat, the suspects were taken on board the frigate to be interviewed. One day later, the men were dropped off in a dinghy near the Somali coast.
Last Wednesday, a Spanish maritime patrol aircraft had spotted the whaler carrying fourteen oil drums and accompanied by a skiff. The NATO CTF 508 commander, Commodore Michiel Hijmans, subsequently ordered HNLMS Tromp to track the group down.
Later that day, HNLMS Tromp's on-board Lynx helicopter discovered the whaler with the four men. By then, the skiff had made itself scarce. HNLMS Tromp, using its own fast motorboats (RHIBS) and the special Marine Corps unit, subsequently detained the whaler and took the men on board.
The focus of the NATO units taking part in the counter-piracy operation Ocean Shield is currently on the Somali Basin. The emphasis is on the early detection, deterrence and disruption of groups of pirates.
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